Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
The Federal Courts ~Lesson 11
I am already frustrated with this lesson because many of our judges especially those appointed by progressive Presidents do not make decisions based upon the constitution and the rule of law any more. The new Supreme Court nominee chosen by President Obama, Elana Kagan supports international law over the U.S. Constitution and this was expressed while she was dean of Harvard School of Law. If we the people elect progressives and socialists to lead us, we will get judges who do not support the constitution as it is intended by our founders. These positions to the supreme court are life time positions and will change the course of America.
We learned more about the federal courts this week in our lesson from The Land of Fair Play. Just as a baseball game needs an umpire to apply the rules of the game, we need fair, unbiased judges to tell the President, Congress, and the people just what the Constitution means on any given subject. The courts are supposed to help protect religious liberty, free speech, or a man’s life or property when they are being threatened. I’m concerned that our courts are also in error now though because many judges are ruling against prayers at graduations, football games and other events. Recently even folks at a convalescent center were forbidden to participate in a dinner time prayer because the meal had been partly federally funded. It seems that we hear about religious intolerance on a daily bases especially against Christianity.
The federal courts and especially the Supreme Court is the highest final authority, and acts as an umpire. The courts interpret the Constitution, decide what it means, and will keep watch on Congress making sure it has not exceeded its powers. If the courts decide that a law is unconstitutional, the law should be wiped out. Also, if anybody violates the Constitution, the federal courts should step in and direct that the Constitution be obeyed. The Courts are the bulwark of the Constitution and should be focused on protecting our liberties.
The courts also settle disputes and punish crimes . There are State courts which pass on the State laws enacted by State legislatures. Most crimes are local and are tried in State courts. Counterfeiters are tried in federal courts because it is the federal law which punishes counterfeiting. The federal courts also hear disputes between states, and suits between citizens of different States.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and often considered the most powerful in the world. It has tried to apply the Constitution to our nation for more than 200 years. Whenever the Supreme Court justices have sought to ignore the original intent of the Constitution, (which happens all the time now), they have engaged in the unconstitutional process of issuing legal opinions in the form of legislative edicts or commands. The courts have frequently attempted to create new laws by way of their opinions instead of limiting their duties to striking down laws that are unconstitutional.
If this continues the supreme court will lose it’s credibility and respect. The court consists of the Chief Justice and eight associate justices. They are appointed by the President and serve for life. The court sits in the Capitol at Washington.
The lowest federal courts are called district courts and they handle hundreds of thousands cases each year. Some civil cases include bankruptcy, civil rights, and tax laws. Some criminal cases which these courts might hear include bank robbery, counterfeiting, income tax evasion, and kidnapping.
The second level of the federal courts system consists of the Courts of Appeals which was created to handle the backlog of cases in the Supreme Court. There are 11 of these courts, each one covers at least 3 states.
Again, I will end this lesson with a prayer. May the Lord give our judges wisdom and may they learn to fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Lord, you care deeply about fair judgments and it is an abomination to you if judges do not rule fairly. Lord please do not remove your hand from our country. Please have mercy upon us and forgive our sins and heal our land. Please let the righteous and godly lead this country according to your 10 commandments and our Constitution that was based upon your principles. Please send a great awakening again. Amen!!
The Three Branches of our Government~Lesson 12
Today I am going to continue talking about the three branches of our government which we discussed in previous lessons. Even though I never studied this in school, I feel so fortunate to study this with my children now. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you are able to revisit or learn for the first time some of the subjects that your government education did not cover. I think we had one semester of government in our senior year of high school, but it was so basic and did not go into much detail. It seems to me that this subject would be very important for the schools to cover in order to have well informed citizens. But then…maybe the government wants to produce worker bees or statistics and not well informed citizens.
Our system with its three branches, the executive, legislative and judicial is a checks and balance system. The legislative power of Congress is checked by the President’s veto. The executive power of the President is checked by the Senate’s right to reject his appointments. The judiciary can check Congress by it’s right to hold Congress responsible with respect to the Constitution.
This checks and balance system is supposed to prevent tyranny by any branch, or prevent hasty action by the nation. Our founding fathers did not want to allow the opportunity for a very strong man to usurp power and set up a dictatorship. I wonder if our Founding Fathers ever thought about the possibility of all three branches having a majority of of socialists and progressives occupying the positions? What are the people to do when this happens? What are the common folks to do when the elites have chosen Socialists, Marxists and Progressives to fill these posts. What are the people to do when the universities are teaching the principles of Marxism to their children? What can we do if our children are taught from a very young age that America is bad…..and capitalism is evil? Some of our schools are teaching this and it varies from subtle to bold, but this is the philosophy of our schools and teachers unions today. How can we expect good leadership when our schools are teaching moral relativism and forbidding the ten commandments, forbidding prayer and even the Pledge of Allegiance?
Perhaps we the people can change this and restore our great republic again. May God save America, strengthen our families, and cause us to wake up and demand good representatives who will fear God and uphold the Constitution…before it’s too late.
What the Nation Does For Us~Lesson 13
In our every day lives most of the things that concern us are done by the local government. We will study about this later on. Now though, we must understand that our strong national governments most important job is to protect all of our rights of liberty and freedom. Under a weak and unstable government no man’s life or property is secure.
We have studied the beginning years in our country and read about how troubled it was just after the Revolution. Our thirteen colonies were only held together under the Articles of Confederation. Our founders realized that we needed to have a Constitution in order to have a strong union and protect the people’s liberties. Our Preamble to the Constitution states clearly:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Our national government is supposed to provide for our nation’s defense first and foremost. They must protect us from foreign invasion, command us in our battles, and speak for America among the nations of the world. Our safety and well being depends upon this. If we are a weak, divided nation, with a weak military we might be conquered, deprived of our rights and subjected to a foreign power.
The United States, as a leader of the Free World, belongs to several international groups. The United Nations, located in New York is an example of one organization that is supposed to keep the peace among nations. The United Nations was preceded by the League of Nation which was based on President Wilson’s famous Fourteen Points of 1918.
It is important to know that Woodrow Wilson was greatly influenced by a Fabian tract of 1917 called “Labour’s War Aims.” The London Fabian Society was formed in 1833, (the same year Karl Marx died), and was committed to advancing socialism gradually by passing new laws. Labour and the New Social Order became a type of “Fabian Manifesto” which had four goals. These four goals were incorporated into the League of Nations and later the United Nations in 1945. These socialist goals were as follows:
1. Establishing a minimum wage and social welfare programs
2. government ownership and control of land, utilities, transportation, mineral resources, and heavy industry
3. doing away with personal property, savings, and investment through taxation
4. disarmament, an international court, international controls, and ultimately a “one-world” government.
The United Nations has consistently served the interests of socialists and globalism since 1945, and has been a failure to the nations that yearn to be free. Most of the leaders who were responsible for establishing the United Nations in the 1940’s were committed to the goal of establishing a socialist one-world government.
The International Court of Justice was established at the Hague in the Netherlands, where 15 judges from different nations meet to resolve questions of international law.
Our National government is also called to protect us against graver forms of disorder at home. Ordinary police work is left to the States, through our local police.
We also have an organized State militia called the National Guard which the governor can call out to protect property and lives when there is disorder. During one of the hurricanes in the South the national guard were called to help the citizens of Louisiana. Some of the national guard disarmed the citizens who were trying to protect their own property. I do not believe that this should ever happen in America. In the even of a riot or other serious public disorder the State legislature may call upon the President to send troops of the national army to help. It is also the duty of the national government to see that every State has “a republican form of government.” No State should be able to set up a monarchy or tyranny…….and neither should the federal government.
It is the Presidents job to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” (art. II, Sec3) For example the president should enforce the laws already on the books to stop illegal immigration. The President should be in full support of the new Arizona law which merely mirrors the federal law. The president should not sue a state like our President is doing now…but should offer help and support. The president has the authority to send national troops to preserve order during civil disturbances.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), founded in 1908, is responsible for investigating any violation of federal law that is not assigned to another agency. The FBI helps fight crimes such as kidnapping, bank robbery, espionage upon federal workers.
The Land of Fairplay warns us against increasing the responsibilities and activities of our national government, because this forces the federal politicians to raise taxes to the point where our whole economy will suffer. A smaller government is a better government. It must be remembered that governments do not and cannot create wealth, in fact they often destroy the mans by which people create it. Therefore we must keep our State government strong and use it as much as we can. Whenever our federal government calls for new regulations and taxes, we must hesitate and heed this warning not to allow Washington more power than the Constitution has already granted.
Money- In order to buy and sell in a modern nation we must have a uniform system of money or currency. Therefore, the States are forbidden under the Constitution to coin money (Art I, Sec 10, Par 1) Only the national government has the power to print money. In 1789, the States had flooded the country with paper money that in some instances, had become worthless. It is dangerous for governments to print currency that is not backed up by gold or silver in the treasury. Now, our money is not backed up by gold but our government continues to print more and more money. Our government has also been on a spending spree that is out of control. Our economy is failing due to the bad stewardship of the current and previous administrations.
During the twentieth century, our central government has voted to take our nation’s currency off of a gold or silver standard. This is a violation of the U.S. Constitution! (Art. I, Sec. 10, Par 1) The dollar was taken off of the gold standard over a long period of time. In 1933, American’s were forced to turn in their gold coins and certificates to the Department of the Treasury. The dollar was completely removed from the gold standard in 1971, when President Nixon disallowed the converting of dollars into gold by foreign banks and governments. Later in the 1970’s folks were allowed to purchase and own gold again. It is no longer designed to be used as money though.
Why would they do such a thing? Well, these actions allowed those in Congress to spend more money on government programs without having to worry about sufficient gold or silver in the federal treasury to pay for these programs. Now we are trillions of dollars in debt. Our founders who wrote our beloved Constitution knew that it was foolish to permit the people in our Congress to print money that could not be backed up by gold or silver. Now we are are burdened with higher taxes and an unstable economy because of these representatives who did not follow the constitution. Uncontrolled government spending must be stopped before our nation’s economy is destroyed. President Bush and his administration spent too much money but now under President Obama, it almost seems as though our government is purposely committing suicide. I sometimes wonder if our President and Congress are trying to break the whole system on purpose in order to usher in a new socialist America just like Woodrow Wilson wanted to do along with the United Nations. (See www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9dnLgTo6MU)
The Post Office-One of the oldest business undertakings of the government is the United States Post Office. Our system is one of the largest in the world, but it is not run as other businesses are run…to make a profit. It is run to educate, inform and unify the nation. The Post office includes these five things:
1.It delivers mail from door -to-door
2.It offers delivery service for people who do not have a permanent address…provides P.O. Boxes
3.It registers letters, so as to make their safe delivery more certain
4 It sends money orders which are like bank checks
5.Since 1913 it has been carrying small packages by parcel-post
The Railway-Through its control of “commerce”, Congress has provided for the fixing of fair and reasonable rates on all interstate traffic, freight and passengers alike. This has been done through the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Panama Canal-The national government chose to build an artificial waterway in Panama for the convenience of the world’s commerce and also to give a swift passage from coast to coast for our warships, this making the defense of our nation easier. In 1977, I believe President Carter signed a treaty which would give Panama control over the Canal by 1999.
The Nation’s Health-Our government has inspectors that watch every piece of meat that is packed, and condemn every piece that is diseased or unfit. This is done under the pure food and drug law passed in 1906. This important work, that means so much to the health of us all, is under the general charge of the Secretary of Agriculture.
The Farmer-Over the years, the national government has done much to aid the farmer. When a new territory was added to the Union, public lands have become government property. This land was given to actual settlers under the Homestead Act of 1862. If any person would settle and cultivate 160 acres for 5 years they could keep the land. In this way, we have become a nation of land owners. (The Department of the Interior is in charge of public lands)
The Department of Agriculture studies farmer’s problems such as livestock diseases, improving crops, testing of soils, controlling insects etc. The Department of Commerce helps through the National Weather Service, which warns everyone, farmers included of cold waves, frosts, and storms. Here in Central California Farmers have been banned from watering their farms in order to protect the Delta Smelt fish. Farmers who have worked their own land for generations are forbidden to water. This year, about 45,000 farms will be idle at a cost of $46 million. In addition, 100,000 acres will be “under-irrigated,” causing a $59 million loss. It saddens me that our Government has become a government of ideologies and political correctness instead of a government of the people . Animals and fish are given priority over farmers. Environmentalism has become the new religion in America.
Conservation– We are to be good stewards of the earth and must not cut down forests wastefully, making no provisions for reforestation. Conservation is important. More than one-third of our forest acreage has been placed in reserves that are under the control of the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture. Forest rangers patrol these acres and work to prevent cutting except according to the rules of careful forestry.
Labor- The Department of Labor studies the labor problems and labor laws. The regulation of labor in factories rests with the State governments. Independent agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board, the Railroad Retirement board have been set up to work with the Department of Labor to regulate collective bargaining rights for workers, child labor, working conditions, and minimum wages.
The Protective Tariff-A tariff ( a customs duty) upon goods from foreign countries is a tax to produce revenue. Protection means imposing a tax so large that foreign goods cannot be profitable imported, thus protection American industries form foreign competition. The Land of fair Play clarifies an ongoing debate: “Some have argued that the protective tariffs, because the high wages pain in America will make it impossible to produce goods as cheaply here as elsewhere. However, others have argued that the country would be better off it it could buy foreign-made good cheaply and let manufacturing develop naturally. This disagreement was reflected in the fight over the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993.
The Control of Trusts-A serious problem in preserving fair play in American life has to do with the growth of huge businesses called trusts or mergers. We have always believed that any bright and energetic young person could start out for himself as an independent manufacturer or dealer. Competition was good and kept prices down. Sometimes large corporations control and monopolize and shut out the small beginner and permit an unfair raising of prices since competition in largely ended. This is called a monopoly when one company controls one product or service.
In order to secure fair play, both for the small business man and for the public, the nation has passed a number of laws including the Sherman Anti-trust Law of 1890. Under this law, companies like Standard Oil and tobacco companies were split up by the courts into their original small concerns. In 1914, the Clayton Act was added defining what “unfair trade methods” are and creating a Federal Trade Commission to enforce the law.
The Land of fair play explains that there has been much disagreement about this subject. Mergers and consolidation of firms reduce costs, and is a value to us all if we benefit from lower prices. Some argue that we should not compel the mega-companies to dissolve, but should regulate prices. Others say that trusts should be split up and competition fostered by means of the laws which now prevent “unfair trade practices” such as selling goods far below cost to drive out a competitor .
The trust or merger problem has been solved only in part, and it is doubtful that more governmental regulations will help at all.
As long as there is greed and sin in the would our free enterprise system will not function perfectly, however it is still the best system in the would. It is still true that the government which governs least governs best! As my young son would say, “Amen to that!”
The Government of a State~Lesson 14
In lesson 14 of The Land of Fairplay we discussed governments of the States including county and municipal government. We must remember and never forget that the primary task of each State system of government is to protect the life, liberty and property of each citizen.
The central and State governments have always had specific jurisdictions, which limits the power of the federal system and allows the States to act as a buffer between the central government and the people. In many ways, the State Governments are similar to the national government. The seat of the State government is the State capital. There are three branches in the state government just like the federal government.
The State Executive– Just as the President is the executive of the federal government , the Governor is the executive of the state and is elected directly by the people of the State. His/Her term is 2or 4 years. The lieutenant-governor is like the Vice-President.
One of the big differences to be remembered is that the governor’s assistants are always elected along with him by the people and not appointed by him. A treasurer and controller, a secretary of State and attorney-general are among these. The secretary in the state is simply the keeper of the State’s records and election returns and is not in charge of our foreign affairs as Hillary Clinton is while she has the position of national Secretary of State.
Appointments-The governor does have some appointments to make. He must appoint a superintendent of education who is in charge of the public schools, a superintendent of prisons, and a state engineer who is in charge of the highways.
Many state have created commissions in to handle various matters. These are all appointed by the governor. There are boards of agriculture, food and dairies, live stock, fish and mining. There are boards of health, bureaus of labor and statistics, geological commissions, and forestry boards.There are boards of examiners for those who wish to become dentists, pharmacists, barbers, etc. There are boards which have supervision of the prisons, hospitals, asylums etc.
Commander-in-Chief- The governor is the Commander-in-Chief the military forces of the State known as the militia. All able-bodied males, ages 18-45 are part of either the organized or unorganized militia. The Constitution of the State of Illinois declares that “the State militia consists of all able-bodied persons of the State except those exempted by law.” The main job of the militia as defined by the Constitution is “to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions” (Art. I, Sec 8, Par. 15)
Thew organized militia of the State is known as the National Guard since 1878. It is used by the governor to take care of State problems. Governors of several Midwestern States used National Guard troops to help people during the floods along the Mississippi River during 1993. The governor of California used the California National Guard to help the police control the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
The militia system is important to preserve because it keeps the central government from usurping the State’s rights, freedom and sovereignty. The Second Amendment to the Constitution (A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”) supports the militia system by keeping the power of the militia in the hands of the people by recognizing their right to won weapons which can be used to protect themselves, the State, and the nation from tyranny.
Pardons-The governor has a pardoning power like the President, but it is somewhat restricted. The governor can also grant a reprieve (a stay of the execution of a sentence, the death penalty for example) and the power to change a sentence.
Legislative Powers- The governor can call the legislature in special session in an emergency, he can send messages to the legislature, and he can veto bills.
The State Legislature– The legislatures of most states have two house just like the House and Senate in Washington, D.C. The larger body is the House of Representatives, Assembly or House of Delegates. The smaller body is the Senate. The State of Nebraska has only one legislative body. The state legislators are elected by districts. Districts are arranged on the basis of population so that each senator represents about the same number of people. Bills are introduced and passes very much as in Washington, D.C.
The State Constitution and Courts-There is a State constitution just as there is a national Constitution. There are state courts including a supreme court sitting at the capital , to interpret the State laws and the State constitution. The State constitution has a Bill of Rights protecting the freedom of the people, their religious liberty, and free speech. It is a most important protection of the people’s rights, for it restrains the State legislature from interfering with your freedom, just as the national Constitution restrains Congress. (if we elect people who honor the constitution!!)
Amendments-State constitutions require frequent amendments because of all the detailed legislation i them. They can be amended by a constitutional convention called by the legislature, and an entirely new constitution may be drafted ; submitted to the voters and takes effect only if it is ratified by them. The state legislature itself can also propose amendments. A third method is permitted: A certain percentage of the voters can petition for an amendment, in which case it is submitted to popular vote without coming before either convention or legislature. This is called an “initiative.”
The State Courts-These are more numerous and complex than the federal courts because they handle many more cases since the State laws control most of the common affairs of life.
The general plan is as follows:
- Justice of the peace. Elected by the town. (In cities, police magistrates try the same cases.)
- County judge. Elected by the county.
- Superior, district, or circuit court. Elected by districts (each usually including several counties)
- Supreme court or court of appeals. Elected by the people of the State, but appointed by the governor in some States and elected by the State legislature in others.
The justice of the peace tries small crimes and civil suits for small sums.
The county judge tries cases of more importance and civil suits. He also is in charge of wills, guardianship of children, etc. He is sometimes called the probate court or judge of the orphans’ court.
The trial of all other cases, civil and criminal, comes before the superior, district, or circuit court.
The supreme court or court of appeals hears only appeals from the lower courts. It does not try cases but settles doubtful questions of law. It sits at the State capital and is a court of great importance and distinction. The only court above it is the Supreme Court of the United States. Appeals can be taken from a State supreme court o the national Supreme Court when, and only when, a question involving the national Constitution arises.
States are Not Nations-Even though each state is sort of like a little nation, its power to govern itself is limited to local affairs, building roads, punishing murder, etc. within its own borders. It cannot make war, impose a tariff against a foreign country or between States. It cannot coin money, make treaties etc. It yielded up all of these national rights in entering the Union.
County and Town-Local self-government is very “American”, and is based on the Biblical belief that every citizen is responsible for his or her actions before God. The county governments are the main way local governments give power to the individual to carry out the God-ordained responsibilities that each citizen is endowed with. States where many people live close together, like in a city or village, they are allowed to govern themselves as a separate unit called a municipality.
The Town System-developed around the New England meeting-house or church. Each year voters would go to a “town meeting”. Now we visit the town hall to discuss needs in the community, fix the tax rate, pass by-laws, and elect town officers. A board is elected which include a clerk (who keeps the town records), a tax assessor, a treasurer, and overseer of public health and welfare, a school committee, a police chief, and a surveyor of highways. There are also other minor officials.
When we describe the word “town” in New England, it does not mean a city of a village as it does elsewhere. A New England town usually includes a village, as well as the surrounding farms as well. The town meeting exists chiefly in New England (parts of Illinois Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota as well) Every where else voters elect their officers by ballot on Election Day and not at a meeting.
The County System-The County system consists of a board of county commissioners, a treasurer, a superintendent of education, a superintendent of public health and welfare and and overseer of roads. There are county judges, a county prosecutor, or State’s attorney, a sheriff, and a coroner (who investigates mysterious deaths). The board of commissioners has much power in this system. It has charge of the business of the county, including the erection of county buildings, the levying of taxes, the making of appropriations, the building and repair of roads, and the care of the poor.
The sheriff is responsible for the peace of the whole county and carries out the orders of the county court. If property is ordered sold to make payment for a binding judgment, the sheriff does the work. If need be to maintain order or hunt down a criminal, he can call to his aid every able-bodied man in the county, forming what is called a psse comitatus. (does this really happen?) All prisoners are in his custody and he is usually in charge of the county jail. The county clerk keeps the records of the county. All deeds are recorded either with him or with the register of deeds. The county government gives the people the greatest amount of power in the nation. Since the county is created by and for administering the benefits of the State government, it is actually a subdivision of a particular State. The Land of fair Play by Christian Liberty Press lists the following county functions:
1.To assess and collect taxes
2.To pass local ordinances
3. To build and maintain local roads
4.To enforce essential health and safety standards
5.To oversee and manage local and national elections
6.To register and keep public or legal records
7.To maintain police and fire departments
8.To administer justice through State and county courts.
Please not the following omissions from this list:
Public education belongs under the authority of the family.
Welfare, which rightfully belongs under the control of the family and local church.
The utilities which belong in the hands of private enterprise.
Sadly, these three areas of responsibility are commonly being given to county and State governments with a resulting loss of authority for parents and other private citizens. Dennis Prager has a saying that we should all put to memory. “The Bigger the government, the smaller the citizen” As we Americans continue to hand over more and more responsibilities to the State, and ultimately to the federal government, we will see our rights and liberties usurped.
City Government-A city elects a mayor and a city council, or board of aldermen, usually elected by wards which are districts or divisions of a city. The aldermen are really a little legislature having power to pass what are called city ordinances…local rules such as requiring folks to clear their sidewalls of snow and so forth. The city council also raises money by taxes and directs how it shall be spent…for parks, streets, schools, etc.
The mayor a a large city like New Your, or Los Angeles is a very important and powerful officer. He is the chief executive, corresponding to the President and governor. He appoints all the heads of departments like the Police, Fire, Health, Streets and Sanitation, Parks, Housing, Schools, Utilities Taxes etc.
The mayor also has a veto power over the acts passed by the board of alderman. There is great variety in the city governments, but the general outline is usually as above. The city has a number of important courts, in particular the police courts which deal with drunkenness and other small crimes. In many cities, juvenile courts have now been created to give special care to children arrested and accused of crime.
What the State Does for Us~Lesson 15
We are slowly working our way through The Land of Fair Play by Christian Liberty Press. As I read, I am summarizing it so that it may be passed on to others. I also enjoy having a chance to revisit this information myself or with my children. I hope that you will find it helpful as you learn and study more about our government and how it works. I know that Christian Liberty press came out with this curriculum in the early 90’s. So much has changed since then and even our Constitution has been ignored and dismissed by some of our leaders. Still, I want to learn and I’m grateful to Christian Liberty Press for this curriculum.
Our State Government is important because the officers we elect will have a profound affect on our daily lives through the laws they create. According to the Constitution each state has the power to say which of its citizens shall vote. We have the Fifteenth Amendment which was passed to secure the vote for all citizens after the days of slavery. It declares that “the right of citizens of the United States shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
The State makes most laws that affect each citizen and their property. The laws of marriage and divorce, they create sentences for crimes; it builds and maintains jails. The forest, fish and game laws stating at what seasons wild animals can be hunted are State laws. (except in national parks) Each State will pass laws best suited to it’s people.
The State has a commissioner of education who has charge of the public schools. The course of study and examinations passed by each grade are often fixed by this State authority. The State university system is supported by State funds. The State courts have recognized the fact that State control over private education violates the Constitutional rights of parents and school administrators. Homeschool and private schools must never forget that it is our constitutional right to decide what sort of education is best for our own children.
The State passes labor and safety laws. Inspectors check businesses to enforce these laws, seeing that dangerous machinery is safeguarded or that buildings have fire-escapes, fresh air etc. Sometimes these regulations can be enforced so strictly that private industry cannot function effectively or profitably. Workmen’s compensation laws provide that a workman injured must be paid by his employer a certain fixed amound depending on the injury.
Through the city, we have the Police department and The Fire Department. The police department is run either by a chief of police or by a board of police commissioners. They are appointed by the mayor. The main office is called police headquarters. They city is divided into precincts, each with a police station under the control of a captain or chief.
The fire department is run by a fire commissioner who is appointed by the mayor.
The city’s health department (headed by a health commissioner) inspects food and works with national State inspectors to protect the consumer from injurious foods. Milk inspectors not only test the mild when it arrives, but inspect the dairies to see that only healthy cowns are in the herds, and that clean methods prevail. All this is important but I believe that local farmers who want to sell their own raw milk should be allowed to do so. Recently in Los Angeles a raw-food co-op was invaded and the police entered with guns aimed as if it were a huge drug operation. They were only selling raw milk.
Other services include protection for public beaches, parks, swimming pools etc. Some cities run their own public libraries. Streets are paved and kept clean. Water, Gas, Electricity, and Transportation Systems are run by the cities. Many towns also run their gas and electric plants. For all these services, the city charges are regulated by commissions.
The Land of Fair Play reminds us, “All citizens who are interested in promoting the true American way of life must try to resist the temptation to let big government solve the problems of local communities and rural areas. May God help all Americans to provide for themselves and their families as much as possible without shifting their responsibilities to governmental agencies.” As my young son would say, “Amen” to that!
Political Parties and Elections ~Lesson 16
The Ballot– The most important civic duty of an American is to vote wisely and patriotically. When Americans are lazy or indifferent they are cheating themselves out of their birthright and they are cheating their country. The Land of Fairplay reminds us, ” Unless the citizens of a country give it their best wisdom and aid whenever needed, it will become corrupt, and perish.”
Parties- There is nothing about political parties in the Constitution. They have evolved gradually to unite in groups folks who support certain ideas and leaders. Most folks tend to join a group. Folks who who prefer to remain out of the party system often call themselves, “Independents.”
The Two Main Parties– There have usually been two main parties in the United States. In the first years of the republic, the two parties were the Federalist(Hamilton and John Adams) and the Democratic-Republican (party of Jefferson). The Federalist party believed in a broad construction of the Constitution, giving the national government wide powers. The Republican party believed in a strict construction, and in holding the national government to the powers clearly set for the in the Constitution. This dispute is over the “elastic clause.” (ArtI, Sec 8, Par. 18)
Generally, this distinction is still the same but the names have become reversed, The original Republican party founded by Jefferson changed its name to Democratic in 1828, and retained the name to this day. The Federalists lasted only a generation and became the National Republicans of 1828, the Whigs from 1833-1854, and the Republicans from 1854 until now. The present Republican party opposed slavery and advocated a protective tariff. The Civil war ended slavery and the tariff was the chief issue for years. Now the big dispute over the strength of the national government is a significant argument that divides the two parties.
Third Parties-Some of the third parties have died out over the years but some are still alive. We had the Populist party, a farmer’s party, the Progressive party (under leadership of Theodore Roosevelt) and the socialist party. Currently we also have the Green, Libertarian, and Constitution Party.
Platform and Primary-Before every election, each party forms a party platform which is sort of a mission statement about the principles for which it stands. It nominates, candidates through an election of its own called a primary. These candidates of a party are called its “ticket.” Since the great mass of voters will vote for party candidates, no one else stands a real chance of election and you will throw away your vote if you cast it for an outsider. So, basically the election has been narrowed down, to a choice between the party candidates who stand on the party platform.
Importance of the Primary-The Primary election is important because we do not want to be left with a poor choice on Election Day. The time to make the first choice is at this first election day called the primary which takes place months before the general election.
The National Conventions-The presidential candidates are chosen at a great national convention in which delegates from all the States sit. It takes place every four years in the summer preceding the election and is one of our most stirring political events. The national platform is made up and after many speeches, prolonged balloting the candidate is named.
The Campaign-A Presidential campaign can be very exciting. There are events held all over the country, and the candidates speak before great crowds. Every voter should have ample time to read and hear all the arguments, discuss them with his family and friends and decide how he will vote on Election Day. If our candidates are speaking the truth and not hiding their true ideologies and values we should be able to choose wisely. In order to appeal to a wider audience, I have found that many candidates appear to be different during the campaigns than they are when elected. For example, our current president tried to seem more moderate in his views during the campaigns however, his policies reveal his socialist philosophy.
Political Action Committees (PACs) were created because of a law which forbids corporations, labor unions and other special-interest groups to make direct campaign contributions. But these groups can give to PACs which can contribute $5000 or more directly to the candidate which supports their political views. These committees can also spend as much as they want to support candidates, independent of the particular candidate’s campaign.
Registration and Election- In order to prevent fraud, no citizen can vote unless he has previously entered his name on the voting list of his election district with his address, age and other details. Some groups like ACORN have been involved in voter fraud. Folks would try to win election by hiring criminals to vote in several election districts. (Repeaters)
Bribery-There is always a criminal group in every community willing to sell its votes. This is called bribery. The person who bribes and the man who takes the bribe are guilty of one of the worst crimes. If convicted, they should be heavily sentenced. Buying or selling a vote is a dishonorable crime and an act of treachery to one’s country.
The Secret Ballot–As long as voting was public, a briber could be sure of his vote. Public voting made possible the control of the weak by the powerful. A man might lack the courage to vote as he thought he should, through fear of losing his job. This is why the secret ballot was invented. It first began in Australia and it spread to the US in the 1890’2 and most free nations. A person’s vote must always be entirely his own secret. Did you know that many union groups desire to get rid of the secret ballot!!!
There are three features of the secret ballot.
1. All ballots of all parties are printed at public expense and given out to the voters, one, by one, at the polls.
2. The voter marks his ballot, thus indicating his vote, alone in a booth or small compartment.
3. The Ballot is then kept secret and deposited, so that on one can see how it is marked.
Who Can Vote- Each state has the right to say who shall vote, barring the one exception of the 15th Amendment, designed to insure the right to vote for all citizens regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In the early days of our republic , there were many restrictions. Only men with property were allowed to vote. As America grew, the demand for the vote came from all groups. By 1850 all white males were able to vote but most States did not allow blacks to vote. In 1868, all blacks were granted citizenship, enabling all me to vote in every State. The Nineteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1920 giving women the right to vote throughout the country. The right to vote was also given to all citizens of 18 years of age in 1971. Today the requirements are:
1. Citizenship by birth or naturalization
2. Age-must be 18
3. Residence- a person must live within a State a certain period of time before voting.
The presidential election comes every four years on the Tuesday, after the first Monday in November. All the elections are to occupy the various offices of our government. The people we elect represent us for the term of their office and make our laws, execute them and interpret them for us and in our name. Under this system the people make the laws but they do it indirectly through representatives.
Our government is a republic and not a “pure democracy.” It is important to understand the difference between a republic and a democracy. A democracy simply means the rule of the majority. A republic means the rule of law. We elect our officials in a democratic manner but we do not have a rule of the majority. We have the rule of law, which is our constitution. We would not want the majority to ever take away a persons constitutional rights like they could in a true democracy. In a democracy, if you could convince enough people that freedom of religion or speech is a bad thing it could be overturned by the majority. The rule of law in a republic like ours…. based on the Constitution…. says that the majority can not take away the rights of the people. We live by the rule of law.
May God Bless America and fill our hearts with gratitude for giving us such a wonderful country to live in. May we live a life that is pleasing to the Lord; praying for those who are in authority, and electing leaders who are good, honest and God fearing. Amen!
Government Must Take Before it can Give
I don’t think I really started caring about taxes until I was married with children and a home. When funds are low and you never seem to be able to catch up, you begin wondering where all the money goes. Much of our income goes to paying taxes in one form or another. Lesson 17 on Taxation taught us about taxes. In exchange for taxes, the government gives people the services of government workers and the use of roads, parks, etc. In a way, the citizens are allowing the government to take from one group and give to another. Increased Taxation is frequently caused by political pressure groups which demand money for their own pet projects. When the government gives into these groups, and taxes excessively, folks will rise up in protest just as they are doing today in the Tea Party rallies. The Land of Fair Play explains that when citizens resist the over-stepping of government they are actually helping to preserve liberty. It is important to note that never ever in history has a government endowed with unchecked power chosen to use that power to preserve the God-given liberties of the people.
Did you know that everyone pays taxes? Some folks believe that because they do not pay anything directly to a tax collector, they are not paying taxes. Everyone pays taxes because most taxes are shifted in some way. You will be charged more for rent or a product no matter what if the tax burden has increased for someone. Taxes which can be shifted are called “indirect” taxes. There is also a tax called a tariff. The importer of foreign made goods pays the tax to the government and then collects it from the retailer who in turn collects if from you. The tariff is part of his cost which you eventually pay in the end.
The national government collects taxes and the States collect taxes. There is the tariff. There are excise taxes on whiskey and tobacco. (An excise tax is a tax on a domestic product-an internal revenue tax) When expenses of the national government are too high taxes are levied on many other things, such as cars, jewelry and other luxuries. An inheritance tax has also been used by the government which is a tax on all the property of a person who dies.
The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1913, removed the restriction upon income taxes and now an income tax has become a large source of national revenue. There is also custom duties. These duties are collected at the custom-houses in our ports upon the arrival of the goods.
Bonds– The revenue from taxes should be enough to cover government expenses. If not, money must be borrowed. This is done through the issue of government bonds; which are simply the government’s promise to pay a certain sum with interest after a certain number of years. The total of bonds owed by a government is called its “national debt.” Now due to the reckless spending of our government our national debt is over 13 Trillion dollars!!!!
In the past real estate and land tax was thought to be immoral. Property taxes were considered Anti-Family, Anti-God and Anti-private property. Folks need to know that the power to tax a piece of property dictates who is ultimately in control of that property. The power to tax property is the power to confiscate property!!! It amazes me that our State of California elected Jerry Brown for governor (again) even though he wanted to get rid of Prop. 13 which limits property taxes. What is wrong with Californians anyway? How are they going to be able to pay the taxes on their property when they are retired…or ill, or they lose their job.
Many folks in CA have lost their homes because they could not afford to pay the taxes even though there mortgage is paid. Personally…I agree with the above statement. Property taxes are anti-family, anti-God and anti-private property!!
Tax Rate– Before a tax rate is fixed the value of the property must be assessed. The tax rate is usually 2 %. IF your home and lot are assessed at $50,000 your share of the tax will be $1000. Imagine if your home is assessed at $300,000 That’s a lot of money for a family to come up with.
Most states impose taxes on personal income thus subject citizens to a double tax since the national government also taxes incomes. Other taxes include a Sales Tax, Corporation tax, Licenses and Fees, Franchise Tax, Assessments and Bonds. All our local governments issue bonds to pay for permanent improvements. The purpose is exactly the same as in the case of national bond issue. School districts issue bonds to borrow money for new schools. The same is true of sewers, water works and other improvements. Issuing bonds is mortgaging future generations, and a community should be very careful that future taxpayers will share the benefit.
My prayer is that our families, cities, states and Country would begin to live by the Constitution and the Bible again. I pray that we all will be wise stewards of all that the Lord has given us. May the Lord have mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Amen.
List of Taxes…I’m sure there are many more.
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
Capital Gains Tax
CDL License Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Court Fines (indirect taxes)
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Interest Expense (tax on the money)
Inventory Tax I
RS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Local Income Tax
Marriage License Tax
Real Estate Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Road Toll Booth Taxes
Road Usage Taxes (truckers)
Septic Permit Tax
Service Charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Toll Bridge Taxes Toll
Tax Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers’ Compensation Tax
Lesson 18~ Courts and Trials